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Feb 19, 2008 09:36 AM

(Another) new visitor to Boston...

Hi All!!

This is my first time posting on CHOW, but I've been an occasional reader every once in a while - reading up and visiting places in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada (where I've been raised and am now working). Toronto (as far as I know) has top-level and an enormous variety of ethnic foods to choose from. I'm definitely not a picky eater and will try almost anything (given I deem it an acceptable price), but I realize that Boston isn't really known for its cultural foods. Nonetheless, I'd definitely like to see what Boston has to offer in the lower and higher price ranges. In essence, I just want to taste and feel Boston.

I'm going to be in town for the International Seafood Exhibition this Thursday till next Wednesday and will be working and staying near Post Office Square Park. Is that the "south" of the city?

I'll have to grab quick and inexpensive lunches (max $10, 30 minutes or takeout) in the vicinity of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (although google maps tells me there's not much there)! So maybe in the southern area of the city?

For dinner, I may or may not have time, but would love to try some great places as well (mains ranging between $15 - $30) with a great Bostonian atmosphere!

I've taken a look at the "must-tries" and "touristy" places on previous threads so I have an idea, but feel free to give your two-cents regarding this area of the city!!


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    1. I highly disagree about your assessment of Boston's ethnic food scene. Here's one place to try in that style that will fit your criterias: Oleana.

      3 Replies
      1. re: joebelt

        Except at Oleana that $30 won't get you far for dinner.

        The Convention Center is in a kind of nowhere land (at least for now, the neighborhood will probably be okay in a few years).

        Our ethnic food is okay, actually. In addition to Chinatown, which is near Post Office Square and you can search for what you like on the board, there are plenty of ethnic places in Porter Square (principally Japanese and Korean), Dorchester, (mostly Vietnamese) and Allston, which has just about everything.

        We're weak on Jewish, German, Mexican and E. European here, at least half-way decent on everything else.

        I recommend asking for a higher per diem, those prices can certainly be done as a local, but I think would be difficult as a tourist.

        1. re: sailormouth

          He's talking about $30 for his main course not for the whole dinner. Please re-read his OP. :)

          1. re: joebelt

            It's a good thing I don't have to read or write for a living!

      2. The new convention center is in the middle of a wasteland, but Post Office Square Park is pretty much the midpoint between the North End and Chinatown, which both have some worthy options. To be fair, our Chinatown doesn't have much in it that you wouldn't find on Spadina in terms of variety, but the quality is generally high at the favored places, such as New Jumbo Seafood, King Fung Garden, Peach Farm and New Shanghai. As for the North End, please note that you will be directed to Pizzeria Regina, and you should take that suggestion, but there's someone on this thread who will likely go on an extended rant about how awful it is. There's a history of this.

        6 Replies
        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

          hmmm, maybe my post wasn't too clear ... i am at work, afterall ...

          but i'm not solely interested in ethnic foods, but pretty much anything and the best "bang for the buck" slash "best of the city" foods boston has to offer in the area ....

          thanks for your responses tho .... barmy, looks like u've been to toronto .... the chinese/asian food north of the toronto has been booming the last few years as wealthy immigrants are settling/moving to the suburbs (markham/scarborough) ... should give it a shot if ure in town!

          i've definitely seen Olean and Pizzeria Regina thrown around ... and will most likely try to get to the "tourist" spots like Port Union and the Cheers Pub...

          1. re: msprnt

            Get your picture taken outside the Cheers pub, but don't even bother going in. It is seriously nothing more than a cheesy tourist trap, and it's not even particularly fun as cheesy tourist traps go.

            There's an outpost of Flour Bakery nearish the Convention Center, and they have excellent BLTs. That'll do for at least one lunch.

            If you're interested in touristy, Fanueil Hall will be near you, as will the Union Oyster House: most Hounds will tell you that if you eat at Union Oyster House, you should stick to the raw bar.

            1. re: msprnt

              In that case, you could try a different tack and choose your restaurants based more or less on what you see on the board and then choose your "local stuff" based on the menu. Just about every decent restaurant in Boston will have some fresh fish and most will have things that feature New England products (aside from seafood that includes cheese and I don't what else).

              One thing I would definitely recommend doing is searching the Boston board under "Toronto" and "Torontonian", we seem to have plague of visitors from Toronto using the board and most of you have very kindly not only asked for opinions but then provided feedback when you get home. Plague in a good way though, like a plague of chocolate frogs or boiled dinners or rivers of blood-sausage or something.

              1. re: msprnt

                PO Square is considered the financial district..and can get quiet at night. As Barmy points out, you're midway betwwen Ctown and the North End.and both are easily walkable. If Toronto has good Asian, I'd say explore the North End..along the way, you can great oysters at Union Oyster House..only eat raw clams or oysters at the downstairs raw of menu is subpar. Continue to Neptune Oyster Bar. Our NE has dozens of restaurants and if you do a search, you'll likely find 1 that fits your mood. 1 place that is uniquely Boston is Daily Catch..tiny place that you basically sit in the kitchen..maybe 10 tables; specializing in Sicilian style seafood. Stroll and have desset and a coffee drink at 1 of the many cafes. Despite our resident Regina's basher, I think the place makes great pizza; for the best result, ask for it stretched and well done. Be sure to go to the original on Thatcher in the NE..and skip the branch in Fanieul Hall.

                If you're in PO Sq in the daytime, there is a Chilean sandwich shop called Chacarerro which is worth trying..and you're not far from Burrito Express; a small, mostly takeout Mexican that does a good job.

                1. re: 9lives

                  Toronto does indeed have good Asian, but you might still find some things of interest in Boston's Chinatown. In particular, you should probably check out some of the spots like Potluck Cafe or Taiwan Cafe, which specialize in regional cuisines that I think aren't as well-represented in TO as Cantonese is. Toronto also has a nice Little Italy, but my recollection is that it's hard to find good pizza - I cast another strong vote for a visit to the original, North End Regina's, followed by dessert at Modern Pastry or Cafe Vittoria.

                  Angela's Cafe is out of the way, especially for a visitor, but Mexican food in TO is absolutely dire. If you can find the time and are up for an adventure, you should try to get there. There are excellent directions on the Places link below.

                  Angela's Cafe
                  131 Lexington St, Boston, MA 02128

                2. re: msprnt

                  Best ethnic bang-for-the-buck: Addis Red Sea on Tremont St. Ethiopian food, great setting, extremely friendly staff

                  I still haven't been (For Shame!), but this board constantly raves about the authentic Mexican at Angela's Cafe in East Boston. Prices are very affordable.

              2. The Drydock Cafe near the convention center is cheap and pretty ok. It's in the design center. Plus there's that other lobster place (name escaping me) in that rotary ...

                I don't know if Sal's does lunch. I'd avoid Legal Test Kitchen.

                You can walk to Chinatown from there, actually, in about 10-15 minutes, straight down Summer St. In addition to the Chinese places listed, there are some decent Vietnamese restaurants and bahn mi outlets.

                1 Reply
                1. re: C. Hamster

                  the lobster/seafood place in the rotary (Northern Ave) is Yankee Lobster. There is also a Pressed Sandwich and a Sebastians nearby for lunch.

                2. Great Bostonian atmosphere? want to catch the locals at their favored watering holes, check out either Harvard Gardens or Silivertone's for afterwork crowds, and decent comfort food.

                  Sal's is near the convention center, and they have an interesting take on pizza, which is available for take out by the slice.

                  Post Office Sq has a ton of quick lunch options (Sebastians, Viga, Cosi), but not much after hours.